Tag Archives: Holidays

Party Like a Toddler

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His Majesty had a Halloween Party at play school yesterday, which gave me the opportunity to try out two new recipes that I pinned to my Halloween Board.

The first was a twist on our Valentine’s Day success: I call it “Monkey Munch”, but my husband, and the recipe that I used, call it “Puppy Chow”.  The other play school parents just called it “Really Good”.  The source of the recipe is a blog called Your cup of Cake, and it’s written by a college student at BYU.  She has tons of recipes for sweet treats, like this one for hot chocolate truffles.  Betcha Santa would take those over the same old chocolate chip cookies we leave him every year!

The recipe is very easy to follow.  The only thing I did differently was to mix the coated cereal and the powdered sugar in a (clean, unused) kitchen trash bag.  It’s bigger, so it’s easier to spoon the cereal into it, and there is more room to shake the cereal around and coat it evenly in the powdered sugar.  I just used one trash bag for the white chocolate mixture and one for the chocolate chip mixture.  I used about 2/3 of a big bag of Reese’s Pieces, but you could add M&Ms, candy corn, pretzels, whatever you want, to dress it up to your satisfaction.

The second recipe I tried was this pumpkin shaped cheese ball from Family Fresh Meals.  I served it with pretzels, crackers, bell pepper slices, and nacho chips.  It looked so pretty that people will think it takes you a lot of work to create it, but it doesn’t.  Not including the time it spent in the fridge overnight, it took me about 20 minutes, including time to cut up the peppers and set up the crackers on the platter.   It was a hit with the kids, and His Majesty tried to eat some of the leftovers with a spoon.

These two snacks went over very well with both adults and kids.  I still can’t get over how much toddlers eat, those little ones sat down around the table and gorged themselves to their little costumed hearts’ content.  Even so, these recipes make a lot of servings, so if you are watching your waistline, I’d definitely suggest that you have a plan for how to pawn the leftovers off on your friends generously gift the leftovers so that you aren’t tempted to overindulge.  These treats are can be dangerous!

Happy Halloween!

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The First Boo-Tiful Halloween Craft of 2012

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Oh my gosh, I am so excited to show off my friend Melissa’s handiwork today!  She’s been bitten by the Pinterest bug, and my Facebook newsfeed has been full of all sorts of treats and crafts that she’s created for herself and her sweetie up north in PA.  As soon as I saw her awesome Halloween Topiary, I begged her to let me feature it here, and she was kind enough to let me.  Thanks, Melissa!

She drew her (p)inspiration  from Courtney at A Diamond in the Stuff, which is a fantastic blog that is loaded with amazing DIY-able home decor creations.  Seriously, what this woman can do with Mod Podge and some thrifted furniture is unreal, you’ve got to check it out.

Pumpkin Topiary; Source: A Diamond in the Stuff

(Courtney also has an Etsy Store, just in case you’re running out of time to create your own awesomeness from time to time.)

Using faux pumpkins, Krylon Glitter Blast spray paint, a hot glue, a basket, wooden skewers, and craft letters, Melissa made her own version in under 3 hours (including time spent waiting on the paint to dry between coats:

To this:

Don’t you just love it?  What a great way to jazz up an entryway, or a porch, especially if you don’t want to decorate with anything that might be too scary for your little Trick or Treaters.  Melissa says: “From start to finish this was an easy craft and I recommend it for beginners! I used simple pumpkins from Walmart, glitter blast spray paint, and all of the accessories were from Michael’s! Simple, easy, fun & makes a great decoration!!”  The cost for her materials rang in at about $45, the bulk of which was in the cost of the Krylon Glitter Blast spray paint (which has an awesome color selection and just flat out rocks, but is a bit steeply priced if you are going to use more than one color for a project.  I wonder if there is a cheaper alternative out there that could still achieve the glittery finish?).

Great job, Melissa, and thanks for sharing your work!

You can see more of Melissa’s favorite (p)inspirations and follow her in all of her greatness to see what else she finds and creates here.

I can’t believe it’s time to actually start making some of the fantastic Halloween creations that I’ve been pinning all year! I’d better get it in gear!! Thanks for the push, Melissa!

I’d love to feature your creations, too, so if you make something you saw on Pinterest, take pictures, and let me know that you’d like some of the spotlight!  Email me at verypinteresting(AT)GMAIL(DOT)com, I’d love to see your masterpieces.

Valentine Fun

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Tomorrow is His Majesty’s play school Valentine’s Day party.  Play school parties, I’ve come to learn, require roughly as much food as that necessary to feed a high school football team, only packaged prettier so as to attract the little tykes’ attention.  For the Thanksgiving party, I signed up for the “snack tray”.  I brought a two pound bag of chunk cheese and 2 boxes of pretzel crisps, figuring I’d bring the rest home as an afternoon snack.

When I arrived to pick him up, less than three hours later, every bite of the cheese and crackers was GONE.

There are five children in His Majesty’s class.

FIVE.

They collectively weigh less than my (naturally and annoyingly thin) husband, and they ate TWO POUNDS of cheese and TWO ENTIRE BOXES of pretzel crisps, PLUS the “Main Dish” and fruit platter that were brought in by other parents.  I was absolutely astonished, but more so, I was secretly relieved to know that it wasn’t only my toddler who ate like every morsel of food set in front of him was his last meal.

This time, it’s my turn to provide the “Take Home Treat” (which is their way of describing goody bags). I knew that I wanted to make sure to include enough stuff to actually make it home.  I mean, if they can blow through two pounds of cheese and crackers two hours after breakfast, I’d better have more than one thing to tide them over until they got out of the parking lot.  Naturally, I turned to my pinterest boards.

The first thing I decided to include was this holiday snack mix, from Betty Crocker.  I followed the directions exactly and whipped up a batch, packaging it up into individual servings in these cute little heart sandwich bags.  Pretty, colorful, AND tasty.  It reminded me of what I’ve always called “monkey munch” (and what my husband calls “puppy chow”), except with vanilla instead of chocolate.  I made a double batch to pack some in my husband’s lunch, for a play date that we’re hosting this week, and of course, for Christopher to have a special treat. The recommended servings were really small, though (seriously, a TEASE), so I ended up making TWO double batches.  If you’re going to make a mess in the kitchen, do it right.  At least, that’s how I like to do it.

Next, I saw this school valentine idea using Swedish Fish (from Bateman Buzz), and I decided that it would be the perfect way to incorporate His Majesty’s favorite treat on the planet:  Pepperidge Farm Goldfish crackers.  Oh yeah, baby.  I kick myself for not having bought stock in Pepperidge Farm prior to His Majesty’s discovery of them, but luckily, we have a Pepperidge Farm Outlet a few miles from our house, so he’s not breaking the bank with his demands indulgence.  I did a quick Google search for “Free Fish Clip Art” and came up with dozens of choices.  My favorite was these kissing fish, from Squidoo.

I cut and pasted the images onto a 3 column table, picked a font, typed the rhyme from the Bateman Buzz post, and printed everything out on regular old printer paper.  I cut them apart, and then used a hole punch and yarn to string the Valentine to the individual cracker bags.  You could use card stock, if you’re that cool.  You could even get fish stickers and really fancy it up. I am not that cool, so printer paper it was.  Maybe next year I’ll be cooler.

Next came the butterfly suckers.  I got the idea from this pin, which led me to Mud Pie Studio , where I read her incredible post of 101 Valentine Ideas for Under $5.  The list is a keeper, so be sure to pin something from it for next year.   The butterfly sucker#8, was the original idea that I was after, and it was easy to recreate, using (the obvious) suckers, Valentine themed scrapbook paper to print the template (so graciously provided by Mud Pie Studio), scissors, wiggly eyes, and tacky glue.

Cute, right?  Hold that thought, we’ll come back to it in a minute…

While I was perusing Mud Pie’s List, #65 also caught my eye; What toddler doesn’t love bubbles? Seeing that I already had some mini bubbles (from the stash of pinata supplies I’m collecting for His Majesty’s big birthday party coming up in a few weeks), all I had to do was search for “Free bubble clip art”.  I found this little cutie from Clkr, and my search was complete.

I made another table, typed out the text, printed it, picked up the scissors, and went to work with my paper punch and some valentine ribbon (I got the valentine themed mini ribbon multi-pack last year from Michael’s).

I was pretty pleased with myself.  I got out the Valentine’s Day boxes and treat bags that I bought on Super Clearance last year, and I also threw in little harmonicas from my growing pinata stash.   At Christmas, one of the take home treats was a little plastic flute, so I decided to stick with the noise making toy tradition.  His Majesty loves that thing, and it’s so funny to watch him dance around the living room “making music”.  Toddlers are so fun.  I spent less than $20 on everything,  which is $4 per kid, with several leftovers to give to friends, and lots of leftover chex mix to enjoy and, of course, for the teachers.  Not too bad.

But, do you remember when I told you to hold the thought about the suckers?

Do you see a problem here?  Look again…

Think about it…. Toddlers… play school party… suckers… And no, I wasn’t worried about the sugar.  I know some people who are super freaks about sugar, and that’s cool for them, but I’m a moderation person.  Plus, I don’t even give His Majesty juice, not even watered down juice, so I’m ok with giving him a sugary treats here and there.

But sugar worries exempted, the problem was indeed the suckers.  Specifically, that I had chosen to use Blow Pops.

*Forehead Slap*

Blow Pops have GUM in them.  As in, pretty much the number 1 edible item that “they” tell you not to give to toddlers. Play school parenting fail.  I got so excited about the cute pin that I pretty much forgot about who I was making them for.  Boo.  But, no worries, we have a playdate the day after the big party, so we’ll be giving some to his older friends.  Plus, Christopher assured me that he could handle eating “a few”, all in the name of not letting any go to waste of course. He’s such a team player, that one.

So, I guess three out of four ideas turned out as intended, and I’m ok with those odds.  75% was a passing grade when I was in school, and I’ll take it for my parenting prowess as well.  C= MOM.  Oh Happy Day.

What about you, though? Are you passing out Valentine’s this year?  Are your children?  Anything that was inspired by Pinterest? Share it with me, maybe I’ll be able to use it next year!

Felt Rosette Wreath

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This might be my favorite Pinspiration yet!

I scored some cheesy Valentine’s Day window decorations last year on clearance, and by some collection of miracles, I not only remembered that I had them this year, but I also remembered where to find them.  I’m the queen of buying things on super clearance, only to remember that I have them after the opportunity to use them has passed and/or never being able to remember where I put them. And this is after I have specifically put said items “where I won’t forget about them”.  Seriously, that’s what I say *every time* I can’t find something that I’m looking for.  My husband teases me about that pretty often.  But, as I said, I DID remember about the Valentine’s Day decorations, and I DID remember where they were, AND I remembered that I’d pinned this perfect Valentine’s Day Felt Rosette wreath— IN TIME TO ACTUALLY MAKE IT!! The stars must have truly aligned, I tell you.

It came from a great blog, Our Best Bites, which has tutorials, crafts, recipes, give-a-ways, and dozens of kitchen and household tips.  The writers have had so much success with their blog that they’ve written a bookOur Best Bites: Mormon Moms in the Kitchen.  You should check out the reviews on this book: Five stars all around!  If their recipes are anywhere near as easy to follow as their tutorial on this Felt Rosette Wreath, well, then, I simply must add this book to my next trip to the bookstore!

I basically followed the tutorial, and as I mentioned, it was very simple and well laid out.  Even so, this project was time consuming.  Some of that was likely due to my inexperience, but I definitely think you should plan for at least 4 hours to complete this thing.  It took me about 6 hours, spread out an hour or so at a time over a few days worth of nap times and evenings after both kid were in bed. But, like I mentioned, I’m a novice, and, I also added an hour or so to the project by wrapping my 14 inch wreath form with white yarn (that I scored for 50 cents at a yard sale).  That part was unnecessary, and, in the tutorial, they just painted their wreath form, which, judging by their finished product turned out just fine.

You basically need only the following:  Felt squares (mine were 12×12, and I purchased 36 of them, 9 in each of my 4 color choices), ribbon or tulle to hang your wreath (I used 5/8 inch ribbon, and I actually chose my colors based on the colors in the ribbon), and a wreath form (I used a 14 inch foam form, like they did in the tutorial, but if you decide you want to wrap yours in yarn, you can get a a straw wreath, leave it in the plastic, and yarn wrap right over it).   Then you’ll need a glue gun, and a big ol’ pile of glue sticks.  A lot of glue sticks.  I used a half a bag of the mini glue sticks. I spent just under $17 on this project, including a bag of mini glue sticks.  The felt was 4/$1, the ribbon was 50% off, and I used a 40% off coupon on the wreath form. Not too bad.  I did not use all of  the felt squares, either, (I ended up using 7-8 sheets of each color) so it would be a dollar or two cheaper if I were to do another one.

Because my felt sheets were perfect squares, I was able to just cut them into even quarters. That’s a no brainer. Fold it, cut on the line, fold it again, cut on the line, done.

Then, I started cutting the squares into round-ish spirals, like the tutorial showed.  I say round-ish, and you can see what I mean.  This felt stuff is pretty forgiving, which made me happy.  I like when things are easy, and don’t have to be exact.  After a career in health care, I like things that have some wiggle room (Side note: I used to always joke with the students and residents on their first days with me, telling them: “Relax. It’s pretty hard to kill a human.”  It did wonders to ease their tension, and I’m happy to report that none of them ever made any nutty mistakes, probably because Mama took the pressure off.  And yes, I did refer to myself in the third person as “Mama”, as in “Here, let Mama show you how it’s done.”  For reals.).  See how this felt spiral has a little corner on it?  It really made no difference after the rosette was rolled.  Looked find of like a rose petal.  Totally ok to not be perfectly round.

My husband helped me cut the spirals while we watched “The Tourist” starring Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie.  (It was an ok movie.  Maybe I would have liked it better if I had been paying full attention to it, instead of half listening while I cut up felt squares.)   Since I had my husband’s help, things moved a little quicker for me.  He probably saved me about an hour.  What an awesome husband.  Did I mention that he’s a wiz with the power tools, too?

This was the first time that I’ve used felt for anything, and I think I’m in love.  Have you guys seen any of the ideas for felt food?!  Or  how about this adorable felt Christmas tree?  Or the many different felt flowers you can make? There are some really great ideas, and it seems to be easy to work with.  Starting at the center of your spirals, roll inward, until you have a little jelly roll style rosette.  Rolling them up was the quickest part of this project.  I had this many done in about 30 minutes.

And then my helper stepped in and rolled a bunch for me.

The next day, during the little slice of heaven otherwise known as nap time, I wrapped the wreath form in yarn. 

Glue your first piece to the wreath,

And then begin wrapping around and around and around until you get the entire wreath covered, overlapping the yarn as needed to cover all of the foam.  I didn’t have to worry too much about this part, since I used the same color yarn as the wreath form, but if you were to use a dark color yarn, you’d have to be more diligent to be sure you covered all of the foam.

After that, I was able to start glueing the felt rosettes onto the wreath…One at a time…

Alternating the colors however you think they look best. The felt held its shape pretty well, but I did go ahead and apply glue at the tail piece, and then to the entire bottom of each flower.  That may be why I used so much glue, but I wanted to be sure that everything stayed where I wanted it. Pack them in there pretty tightly to make sure you cover the wreath (which isn’t such a big deal if your wreath is a coordinating color, but I did glue them as close together as I could get them).   See how each rose is a little different from the one next to it?  I think that makes it truly unique.

Before the rosettes completely covered the wreath, I glued the ribbon down, and then covered it in roses, leaving only the portion that the wreath would hang from visible, but you could also add the ribbon to your finished product, like in the tutorial.  Like I said, this project would be hard to mess up. Fast forward another nap time + and evening, and in the end, I had this.

Not bad, if I do say so myself.

You could do a lot with this project, and believe me, I intend to.  My friend Emily said that she would have stopped when about half of the wreath was covered and hung it up just like that, and I agree, it would have looked really cute that way.  I’ve already bought extra felt and another wreath form to do another yarn wrapped wreath in a different color scheme, with a few larger felt roses, or maybe a few flowers that I’ve pinned from elsewhere on the web.  Big plans for my front door, baby.  Big plans.

Are you doing anything to decorate your door for Valentine’s Day?  If you don’t have the time to do this felt rosette wreath, maybe you can knock out this argyle wreath with felt hearts?  Or a tissue paper wreath, like this hot pink one? How will you decide which one to make?

DIY Holiday Gift Idea: Peppermint Foot Scrub

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At this point in my life, time is far more valuable to me than money. Time is my most precious commodity.  In between homeschooling and housekeeping and being a wife, mother, daughter, granddaughter, sister, and friend, it seems that there is never enough of my time to go around.  In general, if something saves me money, but costs me more time, I’d rather pay more.  I’m the person who passes by the crowded gas station with the cheapest gas in favor of the place across the street that’s charging 10 cents more per gallon.  Why?  Because it is TEN FRIGGIN’ CENTS.  That’s less than $2 more to save me a minimum of ten minutes.  Being that my time is worth more to me than $10/hour, I will gladly pay more, thankyouverymuch.  That much being said, it only seems appropriate that when I give a gift, it should be purchased with my most valuable asset:  the gift of my time. So, this year, I’m going to try making a few Christmas gifts.

One of my favorite holiday gifts that I received was a tri-color knit scarf that perfectly matched my pink herringbone patterned knit coat (a much loved present from my mother, from a previous Christmas).  A friend who rode with me in a vanpool (a vanpool which consisted of myself and 5 other women, all of them my mother’s age and older. It was wonderful.) knit it for me, in secret, while sitting behind me in the back row.  She knit a scarf for everyone of the women in our vanpool that year.  It must have taken her weeks of our 50 mile round trip commute to get all of them done, and they were beautiful.  Three years later, when I get out my winter coat and see that gorgeous handmade scarf tucked away with it, I smile and think of my sweet friend.  THAT is a heart felt gift.  I didn’t ask for a scarf that year, and she didn’t ask me for my Christmas wish list, she just made, and gave, a gift that was thoughtful, beautiful, and useful.  Sure, she could have went and bought one for me, pretty much anywhere, and it might have even looked the same, it might have even cost less, and it surely would have taken her less time than knitting it, halfway in the dark, during our daily commute.  She could have even picked up a gift card in no time flat, and given it to me to buy my own scarf, or whatever else I wanted to buy. But it wouldn’t have been the same.

Not everyone on my list would benefit from the items that I am capable of making on my own.  My skills are still rather limited.  Plus, the key to DIY gift giving, as I see it, is not turning the heartfelt homemade gift into a “one size fits all” present. For instance, I wouldn’t want to give my Grandma a coffee cozy, since I have never known her to spend $4 on a cup off coffee, and she probably wouldn’t recognize a Starbucks if it bit her in the face.  But what she does like are beauty items, so a lemon sugar hand scrub would be a great gift for her.  My Mom loves to get foot rubs and to take care of her feet, so a peppermint foot scrub would be a great gift to make for her.  His Majesty loves to carry his books and random items from around the house, so a toddler backpack would be a great gift for him.  Just like when you are buying gifts, I think that in order to be meaningful, a homemade gift should match the recipient.  Why buy something that the recipient won’t like or use?  It would be a waste of money, right?  Well, along those same lines, making someone a gift would be a waste of time if they won’t use it or enjoy it.  This year, I’ll pair homemade gifts with store bought and vendor bought items (many from the Gifts from the Heart Christmas Bazaar), but perhaps as the years pass, and my skills improve, I can make more gifts to give, and save myself a trip to the stores during the bustling holiday season.  And THAT my friends, is a benefit in and of itself.

So, this week, I got busy making the aforementioned peppermint foot scrubs.  I found a basic, easy to follow tutorial over at The Idea Room, and I found really cute containers for $2 that I knew would coordinate perfectly.

The ingredients you’ll need are simple:  white sugar, vegetable oil (you can also use sunflower or safflower oil),  peppermint essential oil, and food coloring, if you choose to color your bath (without coloring, it will have a light yellow color from the oil).  The tutorial didn’t list an exact ratio of ingredients, but I’d been scoping out other bath scrub recipes and determined that a good starting ratio is roughly about 3:1 sugar to oil.

The containers hold 20 ounces, so I aimed for 2 cups for each batch, and I wanted to make 3 batches.  I started out with 6 cups of sugar in a big ol’ bowl.  Pretty easy so far.

Then I measured out 2 cups of oil, and added it slowly, stirring to combine it. You want a grainy texture, to where the sugar will still be a good exfoliant.  I ended up using just shy of 2 cups of oil when I reached a consistency that I was comfortable with.  (The sugar will soak up most of the oil without increasing the volume by a full 2 cups, so three 20 ounce containers ended up being perfect for this amount of peppermint scrub.)

Then I added a few drops of Peppermint Essential Oil.  (I will caution you that if you have a cold, don’t have much of a sense of smell, like were my problems, you may want to have someone with a functional olfactory nerve standing by to help you gauge just how much essential oil to add.  I asked Christopher to come down after I’d already added several drops, and was just about to add more.  The look he gave me said clearly that I need not add any more oil.  He said he could smell it from his school room upstairs…).  Anyway, a little goes a long way with good quality essential oil (I got mine from Frontier), so add a few drops of oil at a time you get the scent you are aiming for. Then, I added a few swirls of red food coloring and stirred it all together until it was all a pretty, pepperminty, pink.

After that, I spooned it into my peppermint themed containers, marveled at my amazing skills, and did the dishes.  Pretty simple, right? That’s all it takes to make a (very scented and delicious tasting) peppermint foot scrub.

Wouldn’t you want to indulge your toes in such a yummy treat?  If peppermint isn’t your thing, you can add any essential oil that you want.  The essential oil was the most expensive ingredient that I used, but as I mentioned, a little goes a long way, and I have plenty leftover to use in other projects later (or to use for healthy benefits:  Peppermint has many well studied benefits.).  Sugar, vegetable oil, and food coloring are inexpensive, and you can pick up the size and type of container that you want at pretty much any store you visit.  You could store this in a cabinet away from direct light for months in an airtight container, so you can even make several batches of it to keep on hand as a gift for teachers or friends or neighbors, whomever you want to bless with your thoughtfulness.

There you go!  One gift down, with some nice quiet nap time left to spare, and I didn’t have to leave the house.   It doesn’t get much better than that!

Nothing to see here…

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Well, at least, there’s nothing to see that I personally have made today.  Slacker…

Truth is, it’s been a busy week for me, and for the rest of the country, and it’s only getting busier.  Thanksgiving, holiday decorating, and a sinus infection (oh, was that just me? Lucky you!) took up the last half of my week, and now, in addition to the typical hustle and bustle of the beginning of the holiday season, my friends and I are preparing for a big event this Saturday, when we’ll be hosting the Gifts from the Heart Christmas Bazaar.  Talk about very pinteresting, many of our creations were inspired by things we’ve seen on Pinterest.  We’ll have everything from holiday goodies, jewelry and bath treats, to ornaments, bags, and wreaths.  It’s going to be great, so if you’re anywhere near the Burlington NC area, stop on by from 12-5, and check off some of your holiday shopping list.

If you’re not going to be near Burlington this weekend, you can visit the Bazaar’s facebook page and place a custom order, or purchase items before they hit the “showroom” this weekend.  If you are in a crafting mood yourself, check out these ideas for things that you can make for your friends and loved ones this year.  If *I* can do it, trust me, YOU can do it.  See my boards here and here for just a few of the ideas available on the web.

Here’s what I’m planning for some of the people on my list:

For my boys’ favorite babysitter:

Starbucks gift card, reusable coffee cup, and a homemade coffee cozy, similar to this one:

Image courtesy of CraftyStaci.com

For each of His Majesty’s play school teachers:

Peppermint bath bombs (that I’m making myself), a peppermint foot scrub, a peppermint sugar scrub and a cute little drawstring bag like this one (I’m hoping to pick up both of the last two items at the Gifts from the Heart Bazaar).

This bag, and others, available at Gifts from the Heart Christmas Bazaar.

For the little girls who live next door:

Hair accessories that I’m making myself, inspired by these:

From belleandburger

And for my jewelry loving Grandma, I’ll be choosing from some pieces available at the Bazaar.  This one is my favorite pieces that I’ve seen there so far, but who knows what the rest of those crafty ladies will have by this Saturday.

From Gifts from the Heart Christmas Bazaar

That takes care of about 25% of my Christmas shopping list, all in one trip, in addition to some time crafting and creating on my own.  Plus, it supports the local economy, in addition to supporting some of my favorite women on the planet.

Are you shopping with local vendors this season?  Making any Christmas gifts?  Making anything that I might want to buy from you? Please, do tell!

The Kids’ Table

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Growing up, Thanksgiving on my Mom’s side was at my Grandparents’ house.  My brother, two cousins and I sat at the “kids’ table”, which was basically just a little folding card table that my sweet Grandma always covered with a festive tablecloth.  I loved the kids’ table.  It gave my cousins, my brother, and me a chance to hang out, chat and tease one another, while the adults in the family got to have actual real adult conversation (which I never understood the scarcity of until I had children of my own).  The kids’ table was a tradition that I thought was unique to my own family, until I got a little older and realized that many families used the kids’ table as a solution to the holiday seating dilemma.  Even though my family wasn’t “special” in our tradition of the kids’ table, I still smile when I think of the four of us sitting at that little card table (which I’m sure my Grandma still owns, and maintains in pristine condition, somewhere in her house).

It is a tradition that I’ll continue when I host this year’s Thanksgiving, and I pinned some ideas on activities to use for the kids’ table.  My board has a meager sampling of the things that you can do to occupy your kids while you put the finishing touches on the meal, or try to steal a few moments of those treasured real adult conversations, and there are many other great ideas out there.  I already decided that I’d print Thanksgiving coloring sheets and leave some crayons out, and this site has plenty to offer in that regard, but I wanted something else.  I thought about doing these napkin rings, but I didn’t want to have to sort through pictures, plus, while really cute, they wouldn’t do anything to keep the kids occupied. And then I found this idea. I think it is going to be a great way to help our kids focus on some of their many blessings, while also keeping them busy doing something creative.  Doesn’t it look like fun?

Thankful Turkey from Parents.com

I was given the incentive to start this craft by accident.  Contractors had taken over our home trying to complete items on the “one year punch list” for our not-s0-new-anymore home.  That said, I was displaced from doing anything of value, which gave me the perfect excuse to craft, but also took away my access to my computer, which was buried under (drywall dust covered) plastic.  Not wanting to disturb the contractors, I went outside onto the back porch, taking my brown yarn and two foam spheres (one larger than the other, to use as a head and a body for the turkey) with me, and trying to figure out how to make this guy without the benefit of directions.

I started wrapping the brown yarn around the foam spheres, one at a time, gluing it in place whenever I felt like it needed some securing.

Change directions to cover the entire sphere.

And just keep wrapping, wrapping, wrapping…

Keep wrapping until you get both of the sphere’s completely covered in yarn.

Luckily, this craft was pretty easily amenable to my own methods, however, this is the point when I realized that access to the original instructions would have been especially helpful.  As I admired my yarn covered spheres, the thought suddenly occurred to me that my round bodied turkey would not stand up on his own.  Oops.  Funny how something so simple can slip your mind, isn’t it? (Don’t worry, I figured out how to make my turkey stand up, you’ll see 🙂 )  Anyway, after the contractors were gone for the day, I went back to read the source’s recommendation that you cut a sliver off of the larger foam covered sphere to flatten it out and make it more stable (obviously doing so BEFORE you start wrapping the spheres in yarn).  That knowledge was no help to me at that point, but it will hopefully be helpful to you.

After the spheres were wrapped, a few days past until I was able to get back to this craft.  Which gave me time to figure out two things.  1) How was I going to secure the head to the body (The source blog says to use a tongue depressor, but I don’t have one of them, nor do I have any popsicles in the house, and I certainly wasn’t running out to the store in the frenzied Thanksgiving week crowds to buy any), and 2) How was I going to get my turkey to stand up?

The former was accomplished by using toothpicks and hot glue to hold the little ball in place as the head.  It took a few toothpicks, to hold it steady, and then I glued around the contact area to increase the liklihood that it would stay in place. We’ll see how it holds up the the kids, but it feels sturdy now.

Then, I got out my card paper scraps.  This activity is a great way to use up any scrap paper that you have lying around, and I didn’t have to cut a single new piece of paper.  I fixed the second problem by making Mr. Turkey a stand out of two strips of scrap paper that I stapled together in a circle.  His “body” fits right onto the ring of paper that serves as a base.  Problem solved.

I used two buttons as eyes, and cut out Mr. Turkey’s beak and red hangy neck thingee (Which, thanks to a quick Google search, I have come to learn is actually called a wattle.  Google is my proof that there isn’t a silly question that I can come up with that numerous other people haven’t also wondered about.).  There was nothing precise about this, I used buttons that came from a hotel sewing kit, and cut some scraps of orange and red paper, bending the ends to give me an edge to glue, and then applied pressure while the glue dried.

Here's Mr. Turkey with his face, standing up on his circular stand. It's all coming together...

Then, I picked out paper scraps that were large enough to use for feathers.

I picked a variety of colors, and cut out feathers using the first one that I cut as a template for the rest of them.  It certainly wasn’t rocket science, so they aren’t exactly the same size, but I’m pretty sure the kids won’t mind. See all of the pretty colors?

I hot glued toothpicks onto each feather, leaving about 1/2 of the toothpick on the feather and the other half sticking out to use to secure it to the turkey’s body. After waiting for them to dry, I arranged them on the back of the turkey’s body, and set him on his stand.

And here he is from the back:

Tah-Dah!!  The kids’ table Turkey Topper.  His Majesty is absolutely enthralled with this thing, and is actively planning an attack on it, but in the event that Mr. Turkey survives until Thanksgiving dinner, the kids can use crayons to write down things that they are thankful for on each of the feathers, and then stick the feathers back on the body of the Turkey to display.  I might even write down a few things that I am thankful for to help get them started.

Do you have a kids’ table?  Are you doing anything special to occupy the kids in the hours before you enjoy your Thanksgiving feast?  I’d love to hear your (p)inspiring ideas!